Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by markova21)
    Sorry for a really stupid question but just how exactly can one degree at one institution [Oxford or Cambridge] be more difficult or challenging than another degree at another place if it is more or less the same subject? Isn't economics economics everywhere? Do they do a different degree with more demanding modules or something? A degree is a degree isn't it? If someone has a first in Economics from Cambridge or Oxford and someone has a first in Economics from, say Leeds Becket, yes the name of the institution might be more impressive, but I don't understand how the actual work they are doing every day can be more intense. Can someone explain?
    In addition to what vincrows said (sorry if I spelled it wrong), Cambridge crams more work in 8 weeks of study whereas in other places it's a longer period....
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    Regarding the college inequalities thing, I could rant about it for ages, but basically I do feel like too much responsibility is given to the college in terms of organising/ funding supervisions and there are ridiculously unfair differences in costs/ financial support (accommodation, food, kitchen charges, library fees, travel grants, book grants, sports grants, etc.) between all the colleges. The college system also means you have very limited choice of accommodation, so I can't just move into accommodation closer to my department/ cheaper/ nicer unless my college conveniently happens to have the perfect room already (rare...). Additionally, I've also found out that some colleges (in particular, Johns) have exclusive international exchange opportunities and the like for their students - although I guess in a way I can't complain since Murray Edwards has exclusive internship opportunities for our students only... It would just make it fairer for everyone and provide more opportunities of interest (what if you're at John's but want an internship...) if the whole college system was scrapped and colleges just became halls of residence like other unis have, with their "exclusive" stuff available to all students at the university.
    So... which colleges would you say are then the best overall based on accommodation, kitchen charges, library fees, travel grants, book grants, sports grants, etc. and internship and intl exchange opportunities
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    If some ATs say that they get it wrong on their visits to schools, why some on here preach the contrary.
    It is a great institution and like every institution it has its strengths and weakness. If everyone goes into Cambridge well aware of this fact (instead of this perfect illusion)
    Tell where I or any one of the regular posters (including the ATs) has said the process is perfect?

    I even said it isn't in my earlier post.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    If the interviewers are all using their own subjective scores, then how on earth can one candidate's score be fairly compared to another's?
    Any interview has some extent of subjectivity involved, not just interviews for university admission, Cambridge or not. That's life.
    Nobody has ever claimed interview assessment at Cambridge is perfectly objective process.
    And I'm sure you know about it perfectly well.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jneill)
    Tell where I or any one of the regular posters (including the ATs) has said the process is perfect?

    I even said it isn't in my earlier post.

    Posted from TSR Mobile

    Actually I have great respect for the ATs on TSR (and the ones I have met in person). They are well measured in their comments, very helpful and in doubt abstain
    I haven't read one single comment from them preaching on here.

    Oh dear, the number of time I have read that ''they know'' , ''they see through'',.....!!
    If I haven't met some of them and spoken to them, I would have been tricked into imagining wizards with crystal balls.
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    (Original post by vincrows)
    Any interview has some extent of subjectivity involved, not just interviews for university admission, Cambridge or not. That's life.
    Nobody has ever claimed interview assessment at Cambridge is perfectly objective process.
    And I'm sure you know about it perfectly well.
    But so are humanities essays. They still get a mark.

    There is a box available on the cover sheet for an interview score. It's just not always used. It should be.

    I'd like to think there is some actual data behind Oxbridge's expensive investment in their interview systems.

    (I know this has been discussed at length elsewhere in the forum previously... I just have a nagging feeling that it does remain an area of "concern", or maybe that should be "interest".)

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jneill)
    But so are humanities essays. They still get a mark.

    There is a box available on the cover sheet for an interview score. It's just not always used. It should be.

    I'd like to think there is some actual data behind Oxbridge's expensive investment in their interview systems.

    (I know this has been discussed at length elsewhere in the forum previously... I just have a nagging feeling that it does remain an area of "concern", or maybe that should be "interest".)

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Yes, this is a discussion that's been going in circle.
    And I do take your point.
    But as you know already, I'm a bit wary of disclosing too much data without being able to fully explaining the behind-the-scene its methodology because it can lead to over-analysing and misinterpretation as we've seen many examples of that here every year with new batches of applicants.

    Didn't they have a data on interview scores vs success rate on CAO's application statistic page? Is it gone now?
    I thought that was quite good and useful because it showed majority of successful candidates have high interview scores (or candidates with high interview scores tend to have high application success rate. Another causation and correlation. ) but it's NOT always the case.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)

    1-''On top of individual students grades depending somewhat on how they rank against their peers, colleges are also ranked (unofficially) by the Thomkin's table each year, which results in some colleges putting quite a lot of pressure (and often, more academic support - see college inequalities below...) on students to push for higher grades.''

    2-Personally, I feel that the whole ranking thing (both of individuals and colleges) makes the atmosphere at Cambridge very competitive and less friendly, putting lots of stress on students without really achieving anything...

    3-Regarding the college inequalities thing, I could rant about it for ages, but basically I do feel like too much responsibility is given to the college in terms of organising/ funding supervisions

    4-if the whole college system was scrapped and colleges just became halls of residence like other unis have, with their "exclusive" stuff available to all students at the university.
    1 & 3 -I don't mind working hard and I don't mind the competition either; they are the appeal tbh. However the inequality of funding supervisions and the academic support are big warning signs for me. I am all for the competition and well aware that life is not always fair but at the same University we should get the same tools in order to compete fairly and may the best win. The winning is much sweeter that way

    2- So no team work, popping next door and working together till late hours to solve problems and share knowledge ?

    4- I couldn't agree more. It's tough to digest that the colleges compete against each other. Where is the interest of students?

    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    For Maths students though, it's a bit different - they deliberately over-offer and set high STEP requirements such that around 50% of offer-holders will miss the offer.
    I always wonder about that! Obviously they know full well that they don't have spaces for 50% of their offers. Some rejects end up with Ss and some offer holders end up with 3s and Us. Maybe it's done deliberately to avoid ending up with more successful ones than places.
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    (Original post by vincrows)
    Didn't they have a data on interview scores vs success rate on CAO's application statistic page?
    I don't think so...? Will have a dig around
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    2- So no team work, popping next door and working together till late hours to solve problems and share knowledge ?
    I don't think that's quite true, at my college within my subject we're always sharing cribs and explaining stuff.
    And in relation to the original thread title - no, I don't regret going to Cambridge although someone did write this in the engineering department
    Name:  Cambridge can ruin all of them.jpg
Views: 81
Size:  18.8 KB
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    I always wonder about that! Obviously they know full well that they don't have spaces for 50% of their offers. Some rejects end up with Ss and some offer holders end up with 3s and Us. Maybe it's done deliberately to avoid ending up with more successful ones than places.
    They do have space for roughly 50% of their offer holders. That's almost exactly how many are accepted.

    2016: 256 accepted from 527 offers. 48.6%
    2015: 247 accepted from 527 offers. 46.8%
    2014: 236 accepted from 532 offers. 44.3%
    2013: 234 accepted from 480 offers. 48.7%
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jneill)
    They do have space for roughly 50% of their offer holders. That's almost exactly how many are accepted.

    2016: 256 accepted from 527 offers. 48.6%
    2015: 247 accepted from 527 offers. 46.8%
    2014: 236 accepted from 532 offers. 44.3%
    2013: 234 accepted from 480 offers. 48.7%
    Ok let me very clear ( I am answering between breaks as I have quite a lot of work to do )
    Yes they have spaces for (around) 50% of their offer holders which lead to the fact that they don't have spaces for the other (around) 50% of their offer holders.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by EwanWest)
    I don't think that's quite true, at my college within my subject we're always sharing cribs and explaining stuff.
    And in relation to the original thread title - no, I don't regret going to Cambridge although someone did write this in the engineering department
    Name:  Cambridge can ruin all of them.jpg
Views: 81
Size:  18.8 KB
    Good to hear

    What subject? Which college?
    Do you find that your academic support/supervision better/worse in comparison to other colleges?
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by EwanWest)
    I don't think that's quite true, at my college within my subject we're always sharing cribs and explaining stuff.
    That's my daughter's experience too.
    They had a large table by the side of bookshelves with books on their subject in their college's library. When they work, that's where they headed to and shared notes, books and exchanged their ideas.
    At the beginning of the first year there was one boy who never joined in and refused to share books/notes with others, probably thinking that would make him more competitive, but he learned after a while he didn't have to be so defensive and everyone kept on supporting each other, both academically and mentally, until they graduated.
    • Section Leader
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    Ok let me very clear ( I am answering between breaks as I have quite a lot of work to do )
    Yes they have spaces for (around) 50% of their offer holders which lead to the fact that they don't have spaces for the other (around) 50% of their offer holders.
    Of course they don't. They physically don't have the room. And therefore the offer holders who do less well in STEP* miss out.
    *Because STEP has been shown to be a useful selection filter.

    The alternative is to do away with STEP, have a pre-interview test and then give far fewer offers. Like Oxford. That's a perfectly valid approach, and if applicants prefer that then they can always apply to The Other Place.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    Good to hear

    What subject? Which college?
    Do you find that your academic support/supervision better/worse in comparison to other colleges?
    Engineering 3rd year at Girton. I think academic support varies subject to subject as well. For my first two years I had mainly fellows as supervisors, as Girton has quite a few engineering fellows who either lecture or examine Part I of the tripos. I've heard other colleges have had more PhD students but it varies. This year I've had mainly PhD students as I'm more specialised, but I also share supervisions with students from other colleges.
    I think Girton is more chill about academics in general (compared to other colleges), but that doesn't mean you can't succeed because you're up against someone from Trinity/Johns/Pembroke/Jesus etc

    Also, I love the college system, it's so much more than just a halls of residence it's a full on community.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    First year Computer Scientist here (not quite Maths but I feel like there's no harm in adding my opinion :P)

    One main thing that jumped out at me the most is Cambridge really isn't what you'd expect. No matter how many times you read "the workload will be tough", you'll never truly be ready. The teaching and lectures truly isn't as "world class" as you'd expect. They massively over-exploit the fact that all the students are supposedly intelligent, and hence leave most the work to you. You never go over any idea or concept more than once in lectures. If you've ever heard a key word before in a lecture, or ever gone over a method, you should be able to understand it perfectly.

    It's very "here's a book, go read it, oh and here's some questions, do them". Although somehow they manage to fill your day with "teaching hours".

    A paragraph specific to Computer Science incase you'd rather skip it:
    We have these assignments called Ticks. Weekly coding exercises, done entirely in our own time, with a webpage prompting us. Now the huge issue I find with these are, they have tight deadlines, and go towards your final grade. So often you want to do some revision or go over course content but instead you're forced to complete an exercise, working through it slowly and painfully because you barely understand it all. Googling everything. Coding is a very tedious thing, let alone with deadlines, and being used for "learning". It's not a test of skill, it's there to "teach" you. But let me reiterate, you're entirely teaching yourself the course, they just tell you what you need to be able to do. It will be like "do this" and you have to go figure out what that means, what it does, how to do it and how to implement it into your own code. Although sometimes they help with some of these aspects. Also they go on and on about asking for help on the "help forum" but it takes hours for a response. Computer Science also has lots of messy courses, because of how fast the field is growing they keep changing the content, meaning they get it wrong. Some courses are just way too hard this year.

    Computer Science is 25% maths this year so I can focus a bit on that. The lectures are actually somehow slow and fast at the same time. Every lecture you feel like they're dragging on, taking forever to use simple techniques, but when you go to revise it and do questions on it, suddenly it's a million times tougher.

    At first, you're largely fooled with the "there's loads of support for you here" stuff, to make you not feel so insecure. But you'll quickly learn you're own your own, but if you're smart enough you'll have other people on your course. Sadly for me, I'm too busy trying to catch up with these guys with years of coding experience I can tell already they'd rather not spend their time helping me xD

    I'm not quite sure whether I regret it or not. I'm largely here because I'm competitive, but this place has killed my enthusiasm for being the best (or even being not the worst) because it feels impossible. This place is definitely massively overhyped, and therefore I'm going to assume the effect a Cambridge degree has in terms of employment does too. I think it's more to do with great people go to Cambridge, so of course they'll earn more, not the other way around.

    If you're not a superhuman, you'll most likely go through a confidence destroying phase, where you're spending every hour of every day working just to see you're miles behind everyone else.

    It's just inexplainable to anyone that hasn't experienced it. Yeah it's tough, but I cannot imagine myself anywhere else. I'd just be more lazy, waste more time. Yeah I enjoy a challenge but this is certainly too much.

    Oh and PS please do not be fooled by the "shorter more intense terms" you'll be studying the same amount out of term.

    Oh and if you were brought up like me (being able to value smaller things and skills) then you may get offended a lot xD When my lecturers say something like "them students studying a lesser course" I want to honestly get up and knock them out lol. Very elitist place, would not recommend unless you're absolutely brilliant, or motivated beyond compare
    • PS Reviewer
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    PS Reviewer
    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    1 & 3 -I don't mind working hard and I don't mind the competition either; they are the appeal tbh. However the inequality of funding supervisions and the academic support are big warning signs for me. I am all for the competition and well aware that life is not always fair but at the same University we should get the same tools in order to compete fairly and may the best win. The winning is much sweeter that way

    2- So no team work, popping next door and working together till late hours to solve problems and share knowledge ?

    4- I couldn't agree more. It's tough to digest that the colleges compete against each other. Where is the interest of students?



    I always wonder about that! Obviously they know full well that they don't have spaces for 50% of their offers. Some rejects end up with Ss and some offer holders end up with 3s and Us. Maybe it's done deliberately to avoid ending up with more successful ones than places.
    Personally, I've been most frustrated by the inequalities in supervisions at different colleges. I was pretty lucky in some modules, having a physics fellow at our college who was AMAZING - happily gave us extra long supervisions (even though he was only being paid for an hour), wrote out suggested answers to loads of past paper questions, and was super good at explaining things and working through example problems. However, I really didn't enjoy physics itself so didn't continue with it after first year. Many of my other supervisors mentioned "I'll just have to double check with your DoS about funding..." as an excuse for not providing extra supervisions beyond the bare minimum required, and I noticed they were much less keen to mark our independent work or set revision questions than for their other supervisees at richer colleges... We also almost exclusively got PhD students (even some from different specialisms, I had a physicist supervising me once for Biological Chemistry, a module he admitted after a few weeks actually failing as an undergrad...) supervising us, when other colleges brought in the lecturers or examiners to supervise their students. Of course, this is just my personal experience and university is more about learning stuff for yourself than being private tutored through your exams anyway, but it can feel incredibly frustrating when students at some other colleges seem to be spoon-fed everything.

    However, in third year Chemistry (and I'd guess it's similar in many other subjects), the department now has responsibility for sorting out supervisors for us - so this whole issue has massively improved for me this year. I'd guess in smaller subjects this may even be the case throughout the whole degree course.

    Hmmm, regarding the whole teamwork thing/ asking other students for help, it does seem to vary a bit between colleges (I guess depending if their DoS has encouraged them, or if there is a college subject society organising group study sessions) but up until this year I'd never done ANY group study or chatted about supervision questions with friends. It seemed like everyone was very into studying on their own - I'm sure if I went and asked someone for help they wouldn't mind, but there wasn't a general atmosphere/ feeling that encouraged it. It also didn't help that not many people at my college took the same modules, and we are miles away from the other colleges (where I didn't know anyone anyway). That being said, again it has changed a bit this year as I finally found a couple of good friends keen to hang out in the Chemistry cafe over lunch. Maybe I've just struggled, being more introverted, at getting to know the right people...

    Lol, interests of students...
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    These posts from both ComputerMaths97 and dragonkeeper999 are really very interesting to read. I must have been incredibly fortunate during my time, as neither I nor my fellow students had anything like these negative experiences. I certainly didn't feel there was any 'hype' around Cambridge - it just felt very, well normal really (very much like school) and I had very good teaching and supervision , from both Ph.D. students and Fellows alike. Perhaps I'm being rather naïf, but I'd never heard of all this 'on your own/not much support' stuff - we were a very merry supportive band at College!
    • PS Reviewer
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    PS Reviewer
    (Original post by Reality Check)
    These posts from both ComputerMaths97 and dragonkeeper999 are really very interesting to read. I must have been incredibly fortunate during my time, as neither I nor my fellow students had anything like these negative experiences. I certainly didn't feel there was any 'hype' around Cambridge - it just felt very, well normal really (very much like school) and I had very good teaching and supervision , from both Ph.D. students and Fellows alike. Perhaps I'm being rather naïf, but I'd never heard of all this 'on your own/not much support' stuff - we were a very merry supportive band at College!
    Hmmm, out of interest which college were you at? I have friends at some of the richer colleges in town and it sounds like they also had a similar experience to you - good supervisors, a more school-like approach to teaching, and a more supportive atmosphere...
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Would you like to hibernate through the winter months?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.